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Inside the Rolex Grand Slam: Spruce Meadows 'Masters' at Home and more!

Thursday, 10 September 2020
Inside The Rolex Grand Slam

Behind the Spruce Meadows 'Masters': At Home with Ian Allison, Senior Vice President of Sport & Media Services

Photo © Rolex Grand Slam/Ashley Neuhof Photo © Rolex Grand Slam/Ashley Neuhof

 

What makes the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ at Home different from other virtual events? 

We were fortunate to be able to execute a few 2020 initiatives like the XEROX Young Rider Award and Name the Foal, presented by TELUS – there will be recordings of the 2020 winners from both awards, and they will be revealed during the 2020 Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ at Home. Spruce Meadows also has an extensive library of not just full competitions, but great documentaries, and athlete profiles that highlight the venue and the great riders that have competed. 

What have you put in the programme to attract an international audience? 

The ‘Masters’ has an international audience, and you get to see winners from all over the world. We will feature not just Canadians in the programme, but great champions and teams from throughout our history. Spruce Meadows is global in its reach. Athletes from over 60 nations have competed here, and the BMO Nations’ Cup has historically featured the best teams in the world from North and South America and Europe.  

What have you most enjoyed about preparing for the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ at Home?  

It has been amazing digging into the archives (and our memories), with many younger colleagues and re-living such memorable moments, of which there have been so many. Our next generations of leadership has a greater sense and appreciation of our history through this process. 

 

Breeders uncovered with Judy Ann Melchior

Photo © Erin Gilmore Photography Photo © Erin Gilmore Photography

 

How did you get into the breeding side of the sport? 

I think it was more of a family business that I grew into. At home we always had a breeding programme – my father created a studbook, so breeding has always been a very high priority. It’s something that from a very young age I got involved in and I’ve held it with me to this day. I got even closer to it when my sport mares went into the breeding programme, giving me the chance to breed with my ex sport horses and having their foals becoming our sport horses of today. 

Which homebred horses are you most proud of? 

I would have to say As Cold as Ice Z is one of my favourites that I’ve bred, as she made many of my dreams come true, and she’s a mare that was born at our place. The second would be Take a Chance on Me Z, he was the first homebred horse from one of my old sport horses. He also developed into a Grand Prix horse, so it made me incredibly proud to have raised him and developed him into such an amazing horse. We won Grands Prix with the mother, the father, and when we won Grands Prix with the foal, that made it extra special. 

The partnership between horse and rider is clearly important – is that something you’re looking for when you sell to new owners?

Yes, it’s definitely the one thing that makes a horse afterwards, the partnership that they create later with their rider. You will never get the maximum potential out of a horse if it’s not with the right rider.

 

About the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping

 

The Rolex Grand Slam is considered by the sport to be the ultimate equestrian challenge, primarily due to the sporting prowess required to achieve this feat. It is a quest taken on by the world’s top riders, vying to secure the legendary status associated with winning the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.

The format of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping is simple: anyone who wins three Majors in a row receives the Rolex Grand Slam trophy and a €1 million bonus on top of the class’s prize-money. If that same rider then continues their success by winning a fourth Major in succession, they will be rewarded with an additional €1million bonus. If two shows are won in succession, the bonus is €500,000 or if an athlete wins only 2 majors in a period of four successive shows, the bonus is €250,000.

 



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